Nine local teams advanced to the 2019 FIRST Robotics World Championship Competition after taking top awards in a regional competition that challenged them to build robots.
The Long Island regional competition, with the theme Destination: Deep Space, asked teams to score points by using robots to gather as many cargo pods as possible and prepare a fictional spaceship for liftoff before a sandstorm arrived. The multiday tourney attracted 77 teams, each of which received a kit of parts and were given six weeks to design and build a robot weighing up to 120 pounds.
The Regional Chairman's Award, which was the event's highest honor, went to the POBots (Team 353) of Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School and Longwood Robotics (Team 564) of Longwood High School in Middle Island. Both teams were eligible to compete last month in one of this year's world championship events in Detroit or Houston.
"Our students have worked hard all year," Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK coach Phillip Caputo said. "The dedication and drive these students have shown is truly inspiring."
Other local teams that qualified for the world championships were Aftershock (Team 263), representing both Sachem High School East and High School North; Team RICE (Team 870) of Southold Junior/Senior High School; Hicksville J-Birds (Team 1468) of Hicksville High School; Rebel Robotics (Team #2638) of Great Neck South High School; ThunderColts (Team 3624), representing both Half Hollow Hills High Schools East and High School West; Mineola Wild Reds (Team 6806) of Mineola High School; and ThunderMiners (Team 7400) of Melville. No Long Island teams were among the top national winners.
The local competition was hosted by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island and held at Hofstra University in late March. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
BALDWIN / FREEPORT
Future Problem Solvers
Teams from Meadow Elementary School in Baldwin and Freeport High School were the only Long Island groups to place first in any category of the New York Future Problem Solving Program State Bowl. The groups qualified for the Future Problem Solving International Conference on June 5 to 9 in Massachusetts.
Meadow's team placed first in the junior division (grades 4 to 6) of the community problem-solving category. Their students created an action plan to help solve unkindness, including instituting a peer mediation program during lunch periods.
Freeport's team placed first in the senior division (grades 10 to 12) of the team global issues problem-solving category.
LI Math Fair
The Roslyn school district won 20 gold medals, the most of any Long Island system, in the 2019 Long Island Math Fair at Hofstra University.
The fair, which is open to grades seven through twelve, required participants to submit essays on any math topic and give 15-minute presentations.
Nassau County's other top districts and their gold medal totals were: Syosset, 12; Herricks, 9; Port Washington, 7; and East Williston and Jericho, each winning 5.
The event was sponsored by the university in conjunction with the Nassau County Association of Mathematics Supervisors and the Nassau and Suffolk county math teachers associations.
Schools to Watch
Four Long Island schools — Mineola Middle School, North Shore Middle School, Plainedge Middle School and Rocky Point Middle School — are among 11 statewide identified as 2019 Essential Elements: Schools to Watch by the state Education Department and the New York State Middle School Association.
The program recognizes schools that demonstrate continuous improvement and excel in four areas: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational structure.
Schools hold the designation for three years, then must reapply and be re-evaluated.